(original picture found here)
If we’re friends on Facebook, then you may have already read this story.
But, for me, it’s too wonderful and grace filled, too creative, and too hopeful of a story not to share with as many people as possible.
It’s a wonderful and grace filled story because I think it shows the church at its best, not perfect, but doing everything it can with the means available to it to incarnate the sort of love, compassion, and grace we talk so much about.
It’s an incredibly creative story because because it shows what’s possible if we allow our God given imaginations to run wild and dream up next ways of being incarnating the Body of Christ.
It’s a hopeful story because it shows the promise of the future and what the church can and will be able to accomplish in a radically transforming world that offers new and exciting opportunities to “be Jesus for world” in ways we never imagined possible.
The church that I attend is a fairly standard evangelical church. We’re not a mega church. We don’t have a hipster pastor or super produced laser lights and fog machines worship. And we definitely wouldn’t be described as “cutting edge.”
While those are some of the reasons I like the church I attend, they’re also some of the reasons I was so floored by what took place at my church last Sunday.
Not only did we incorporate texting into worship, we combined it with something else we don’t do a lot of as a traditional evangelical church – liturgy.
You read that correctly.
We practiced liturgical texting at church last Sunday and it was one of the most incredible moments of worship I’ve experienced in a long time and I am incredibly proud of and grateful to my pastor for creating that moment for us.
Here’s what happened…
There’s a 5 month old baby in our church who is sick and hasn’t been able to be at church because of the antibiotics he is on. Before heading in for major heart surgery on Monday, his parents requested baptism.
They couldn’t bring him to church, so our pastor went to them and baptized the baby at their home. Because of the location, the congregation wasn’t able to perform their traditional role in the baptismal rite.
So, my pastor decided to think outside the box.
During worship this past Sunday morning, the day before the planned heart surgery, our pastor put a picture of the baby up on the screen in front of the church. He asked everyone who could to take a picture of the picture with their cell phones.
After the picture was taken, our pastor read the traditional baptismal liturgy just as he would if the family and their child had been there in person.
When it came time for the congregation to respond we responded with our phones, texting the picture we had just taken to the child’s parents with 2 simple words attached.
It was an incredibly holy moment where two worlds collided, the old and the new, to extend the hand of God to a family who needed His loving touch the most.
My only hope is that we as a church, both my local congregation and the broader Body of Christ, can find the courage and creative to multiply these holy moments of grace and innovation.
Because if we do, then to quote the great John Wesley, “[we] will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven on earth.”
Grace and peace,